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   October 02, 2014



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Raw: Ryback gets revenge while HHH gets a lecture
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


Tonight on Raw: Everyone is getting ready for some Payback, in both the figurative and literal sense. Also, Triple H makes his return to the show, but what kind of condition will he be in? Good enough to take on Curtis Axel? We’ll soon find out as Raw hits USA, live from Hartford.

The announce team expresses its surprise as Stephanie McMahon makes a rare (these days anyway) appearance in a WWE ring. She wishes it was under better circumstances, saying she's made an executive decision to ban her husband from competing tonight. As she tells it, HHH has already given his life and body for the fans, so she doesn't mind making an unpopular decision. Steph asks the fans not to be so selfish, at which point her dad's music hits. Vince swaggers down to join his daughter, getting an appreciative cheer from the crowd. He makes a personal request for everyone not to boo Stephanie, especially since he agrees that The Game should not be in action tonight. WWE isn't a blood sport, after all. He's in the midst of further explaining himself when The Shield starts heading down the stairs. Dramatic commercial break! Actually, it turns out that the McMahons must have made it out okay, because we're right into a fairly big match.

Match 1 – The Shield vs. Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan and Kane

Did you know The Shield has never been defeated in six-man competition? #ThanksStatBoy Michael Cole clarifies by saying they've never been pinned or submitted. DQ? Oh yeah, they've done that. There's another ad break in here, in case you were wondering. Orton gives the faces some momentum, but Seth Rollins puts an end to that with a kick to the head. And there's some more pain in store for Randy after that. Bryan eventually gets tagged in and runs wild with kicks. He hurricanranas Rollins onto Dean Ambrose and moves on to the Yes Lock. All six men get involved, but Roman Reigns shoves Orton into Bryan, and legal man Ambrose hits the headlock driver on Daniel to give The Shield yet another win.

Kane, Bryan and Orton have a bit of a locker room tiff. It appears Bryan doesn't feel he's getting enough respect, so he's going to have another match and make them respect him. Elsewhere, Triple H arrives to confront his wife about the change of plans for tonight. He wants to wrestle since he's been cleared by the docs, but Vince gives him a lecture about getting his ego out of the equation. Pot, meet kettle. And who's going to stop HHH if he's determined to compete? Vince warns Hunter not to do something he's going to regret.

Match 2 – Jimmy & Jey Uso vs. The Prime Time Players

Could the winning team here be in line for a tag team title shot? Could be. The Usos are now sporting face paint. It's possible that it was a good move, as they win this one with a Superfly Splash to a prone Darren Young. Not too shabby.

Match 3 – Alberto Del Rio vs. Big E Langston

I like the idea of a series between these guys. It's a bit of a throwback to the late 90s heyday of pro wrestling, or even further back than that. Plus it pushes the guys to find slightly different ways to work each other each time. Del Rio gets the cross armbreaker applied but still can't get Langston to tap out. Yet it doesn't matter, as Alberto manages to roll Big E's shoulders back onto the mat and surprise the big man with a successful three count. Crafty.

Match 4 – Sheamus vs. Cody Rhodes

Damien Sandow joins the announce team with a copy of JBL's new book. He talks up his best friend Cody's use of his brain to combat Sheamus' brawn. Rhodes looks for Cross Rhodes, but Sheamus escapes, then dodges a top rope move. He follows with White Noise and fires up the fans for a Brogue Kick. That's on target too, and no amount of spin by Sandow can save Rhodes from the ensuing three count. Sheamus offers a handshake to Sandow but settles for a big right hand slap after finding it rebuffed.

Triple H says he's leaving, not because Vince told him to, but for Stephanie and to avoid kicking his children's grandfather's ass on live TV. But he vows to be back in the ring next week to face Curtis Axel – no matter what. Cole and company give us an injury update on Kofi Kingston, who is expected to be out for a couple months. In the back, Bryan runs into Ryback, who goads him into a match tonight. And we're not quite done with these segments yet, as Vince talks to Axel and Paul Heyman. McMahon books Axel to wrestle John Cena in a No Disqualification Match, which doesn't go over all that well.

Match 5 – Fandango vs. The Great Khali

Fandango gets roughed up in the opening minutes before retreating to the floor. Oh, and he's thinking about leaving altogether before The Miz appears on stage. And Wade Barrett comes out and smokes Miz with a Bull Hammer elbow. Guess this match is over.

Match 6 – The Miz vs. Wade Barrett

Poor Miz has to go right to battle after getting ambushed in the last segment. He shakes the cobwebs off enough to dropkick Barrett into the barrier on the outside, and he holds his own back in the ring until he runs into a Winds of Change. Fandango decides to return to the stage to do some dancing with Summer, giving Miz an opportunity to lock in a Figure Four (albeit somewhat sloppily). Barrett taps out, and Fandango gets some revenge, I suppose.

It's contract signing time, even though the story here is that we're not sure if the match is going to happen. Chris Jericho, sparkly jacket and all, makes his way to the ring. Will we see CM Punk? Nope, but we will see Heyman to represent him. Of course Paul isn't going to simply sign on the dotted line without getting his say, though Jericho beats him to the punch this time. He just wants Heyman to deliver Punk. But is Y2J truly prepared to face Punk in Chicago? Hartford might be full of Jerichoholics, but it's going to be a very pro-Punk partisan crowd in the Windy City. Chris asks if they'd rather do the match in L.A., New York or right there in Hartford. Heyman shoots down all of those ideas, so Jericho simply signs the contract. He also has an idea about where to file the document – down Heyman's pants. See you in Chicago!

Match 7 – The Bella Twins and AJ vs. The Funkadactyls and Kaitlyn

If you've never read my recaps before, I don't spend much time going through six-Diva tag matches. It's a matter of principle, not sexism. Maybe if Trish, Lita and Mickie James were still here... The crowd must agree with me, because it got very quiet. AJ leaves and hangs her partners out to dry, and whichever Bella didn't get the “work” done gets speared and pinned by Kaitlyn.

Kane attempts to convince Bryan that taking on Ryback is a mistake. He assures Daniel that he has nothing to prove about his heart or desire, but Bryan insists that he does. Making his point clear, Bryan makes Kane promise not to interfere on his behalf. The Big Red Monster does him one better by saying he's out of there altogether.

Oh man, the Wyatt Family video is trippy. Will they actually be that interesting when they start wrestling? I'm skeptical.

Match 8 – Daniel Bryan vs. Ryback

In case you missed it, Bryan has already wrestled once tonight. Ryback takes advantage of that fact early, grounding him and stepping on his head. Daniel catches his bigger foe in a half crab and transitions it into an Indian deathlock. Ryback powers his way out and right into a commercial break. He's still in control upon our return, but Bryan turns things around until he's able to launch almost the whole way across the ring with a flying headbutt. That only gets a two count, but he unleashes kicks to Ryback's chest until he's picked up and power bombed. Ryback wants another one but blunders right into the No Lock. While dragging himself over to the ropes with one arm, it almost looks like Ryback is trying to bite his way out of the hold. Bryan goes for a suicide dive, but Ryback sidesteps it and hurls him into the retaining wall. The big man goes beneath the ring for a table, ostensibly to send a message to Cena. Bryan goes for a power bomb ride through the table, giving him a painful DQ win. Ryback sets another table up along the wall on the outside, but Cena comes down, belt in hand, to prevent any further abuse. Axel comes out too, so it must be time for the main event.

Main Event – John Cena vs. Curtis Axel – No Disqualification Match

Heyman interferes early on, no problem given the stipulation. Axel keeps Cena off guard with a flurry of strikes, following with a backbreaker for two. He gets a steel chair from Heyman, but Cena grabs it from him and uses it first. Axel goes for an involuntary flight over the announce table and gets tossed back in the ring. He takes the fight back to the floor, missing with a big chair shot. More swings and misses back between the ropes lead to a Cena dropkick and a near fall. Axel takes charge for a bit by slowing the pace and punishing Cena in the corner. That only lasts until Cena can break out the right hands and shoulder charges, and Axel also tastes the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena tries a charge into the corner and ends up running into the steel chair instead. The chair strikes again, but it's not enough to keep the champ down for three. Cena's rally leads to a potential Attitude Adjustment through a table on the outside, but Heyman prevents it. Ryback runs in and puts Cena through the table instead. The referee is counting, and Axel is once again the beneficiary. Ryback rules, one supposes. See you in seven!

Nick Tylwalk loves the weekly wrestling grind as much as anyone, but even he feels refreshed after a couple of weeks off every now and then. Whether you feel the same or are too much of a fanatic to ever miss a Monday, you can follow Nick on Twitter or Google+ or reach out to him by email.